There are several Riverdale characters we’ve been forced to say goodbye to before we were ready. In addition to Archie’s dad, Fred Andrews (played by Luke Perry), we also said farewell to Josie McCoy (played by Ashleigh Murray), who'd been part of the Riverdale crew since the beginning.
As the daughter of the former mayor of Riverdale and the lead singer of Josie and the Pussycats, Josie played a major role in the first three seasons of the series, making her final appearance in the Season 4 premiere to attend Fred’s funeral. But why did Josie McCoy actress Ashleigh Murray leave Riverdale?
Why did Ashleigh Murray’s character, Josie McCoy, leave ‘Riverdale’?
While Josie and Archie butted heads initially, their friendship quickly blossomed into romance after they bonded over their shared love for music, but their relationship ultimately came to an end when Josie left town to pursue her solo singing career in the Big Apple.
Although many fans were sad to see Josie go, Riverdale viewers were elated to find that she was set to reprise her role in the series spinoff Katy Keene. The series, which is set five years after her exit from Riverdale, premiered on the CW in February of 2020 and gave us a glimpse into Josie’s rise to stardom.
Katy Keene was ultimately canceled after one season, leading fans to wonder how Josie’s story unfolded. And viewers might just get what they’re looking for in the Sept. 8, 2021, episode of Riverdale entitled, “Chapter Ninety-One: The Return of the Pussycats.”
Is Josie staying on ‘Riverdale’ now that she returns in Season 5?
After Josie abandoned her band to go solo, the status of her relationship with her ex-BFFs Valerie and Melody is unclear. But in a recent interview with Entertainment Tonight, Ashleigh revealed that the gang is getting back together sooner than we think.
Although it appears that Ashleigh is only guest-starring in the episode rather than returning as part of the main cast — as a synopsis for the Sept. 8 episode refers to her as a "guest star" — fans have taken to social media to share their excitement about her return. One fan tweeted, “I haven’t seen Riverdale in like two years but will I be there for the Josie and the Pussycats show? Absolutely.”
Indeed, Josie will be making an unexpected return to her hometown more than seven years after her departure (as Riverdale had seven-year time jump in Season 5), and Ashleigh teased that it will be a family reunion to remember.
"I've been playing her for a while now, and when [Riverdale creator] Roberto [Aguirre-Sacasa] approached me with this episode idea, it was to give Josie a chance to come full circle — for her to be a fully realized household-name superstar, that we know her to be in the comics, but we hadn't gotten a chance to see onscreen," Ashleigh recently explained to ET.
The actress expressed her gratitude to showrunners for inviting her back to the series and giving her the opportunity to “give Josie her justice.” Ashleigh told the outlet, "I feel like we did a really good job. The writers did a really good job of fleshing out these characters fully onscreen, and I feel like we did a really good job portraying it as well."
You can catch new episodes of Riverdale Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET on The CW.